Approximately 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with type-2 diabetes every year and is the 7th leading cause of death in America. In an effort to increase treatment adherence among patients with type-2 diabetes, pharmaceutical companies have developed combination drug treatments that make it easier to follow a medication schedule. The progression of type-2 diabetes usually leads to patients requiring add on medications to control blood glucose. The advantages of combination type-2 diabetes medications is that they control blood sugar in more than one way, and they offer convenience.
Commonly Prescribed Combo Type-2 Diabetes MedicationsThe following three treatment options offer different mechanisms of action to help achieve glycemic control in patients with type-2 diabetes.
Janumet is an extended release medication that combines sitagliptin and metformin to help control blood sugar levels in patients with type-2 diabetes. The combination of these medications in Janumet helps lower blood sugar in three distinct ways: by helping the pancreas make more insulin, helping the body use insulin more effectively, and decreasing excess sugar produced by the liver. Janumet is taken once daily to help control blood sugar levels throughout the day after meals when taken along a healthy diet and regular exercise. The most commonly reported side effects of Janumet include: diarrhea, constipation, mild nausea, upset stomach, headache, weakness, back pain, joint pain, and cold symptoms like stuffy nose, sore throat and sneezing.
Prescription Metaglip combines glipizide and metformin in one pill to achieve glycemic control. The combination of these two medications work by helping the pancreas make more insulin and inhibiting the liver from producing excess glucose. The combination of these drugs, along with a healthy diet and exercise can help achieve blood sugar control when taken as directed. Among some of the most common side effects of Metaglip include: low blood sugar, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, dark urine, and increase sensitivity to light.
Prescription Duetact combines pioglitazone and glimepiride to help lower blood sugar levels in patients with type-2 diabetes. This medication is recommended for patients who are taking other diabetes drugs, but cannot achieve blood sugar control. Pioglitazone and glimepiride work in combination to help the body release more insulin from the pancreas to help the body use sugar as fuel more efficiently. Duetact also helps the body respond to insulin and decreases the amount of sugar made by the liver. The most common side effects patients on Duetact report include: headache, sinus infection, diarrhea, nausea, muscle pain and sore throat.
Pros and Cons of Combination Type-2 Diabetes Medications
Pros: One of the biggest advantages of taking combination type-2 diabetes medication is that they are able to treat the condition aggressively early to prevent health complications. Another advantage to combination medications is that they increase treatment adherence by reducing the amount of pills needed to achieve glycemic control.
Cons: Among one of the biggest drawbacks of combination treatments is that patients who cannot tolerate metformin are limited, as it is common in many combo type-2 diabetes medications. There are also limitations to the dosages of metformin that are included in most treatments as they are taken once or twice a day. To gauge if a patient can tolerate the ingredients in combination type-2 diabetes medications, it is recommended to try each drug individually and monitor the effects over time.
For more information about diabetes medications, visit our Diabetes Condition Page.